A new analysis of the post-pandemic labour market by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has found that the overall mix of vacancies available remains largely unchanged by Covid-19.
The IFS found that while there are around 20% more job vacancies than two years ago, there has been no more change in the types of roles available than occurred between 2017 and 2019. Research also found that in sectors where vacancies had grown, there was no evidence that wages had also risen.
What changes that have been identified over the last two years pointed to a shift towards vacancies in lower-skilled and lower-paid occupations. The IFS research identified that warehousing vacancies had doubled in the five months to February 2022 alone, with driving positions up 80%, although with no correlation with higher wage growth.
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the IFS found that labour market opportunities have improved most for low-educated workers. Among unemployed workers without a degree, 70% have seen the number of suitable jobs increase by more than 40%. On the other hand, fewer than half of those with a degree have seen an equivalent increase in opportunities.
Xiaowei Xu, a Senior Research Economist at IFS and an author of the report, concludes that other factors beyond the pandemic, including Brexit, are also having effects on the current job market:
“The pandemic has not led to a huge change in the mix of jobs demanded, but the shift towards lower-skilled occupations is potentially concerning. There are signs that vacancies today are still affected by transitory factors, for example pent-up demand for job moves over the pandemic and the fall in EU migrants, so it is possible that this will fade over time. That said, the specific occupations that have seen large increases in vacancies – drivers and warehouse workers – are consistent with a shift in consumer preferences towards home delivery, which could indicate a more permanent change in labour demand.”
The IFS research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and uses data from the Labour Force Survey and online job vacancy data from Adzuna up to the end of February 2022.
The IFS’ full publication is available to download here.